Keynote Debate 02: Should artists professionalize?

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Artist-run practices
Artist-run spaces
Artistic autonomy
Professionalization of the artist
Institutional practices
Cultural administration

As artists have taken on the creation of artist-run organizations or have turned themselves or their practices into institutions, their roles have expanded, taking on the work of curator, administrator, critic, educator, publicist, and so forth. While the polyvalence of contemporary artists has enriched institutions with resources and support, any reciprocity remains subject to debate. The professionalization of the artist, arising as a consequence of artist-run institution building and the blurring of professional roles inherent in such activity, may limit artistic potential in that artists take on increased administrative and curatorial responsibilities, among others, at the opportunity cost of artistic production. In the second debate of the convention, presenters will deliberate on the many roles of the contemporary artist, making the case for and against his or her professionalization.


A debate on the topic of "Should artists professionalize?" With: Team A (for): Julia Bryan-Wilson, Jeff Derksen, Candice Hopkins. Team B (against): Tania Bruguera, Sam Gould, Claire Tancons.


Sam Gould is co-founder of Red76, a collaborative art practice initiated in Portland, Oregon in 2000. He is the acting editor of Red76’s publication, the Journal of Radical Shimming, as well as full-time visiting faculty within the Text and Image Arts Department at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston.



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